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Features \ Asia features

Indian Jesuit Fr. Prem Kumar on his abduction in Afghanistan - part 1‎

Fr. Prem Kumar (2nd from L) enjoying company of fellow Jesuits in New Delhi, India, following his release by abductors in Afghanistan. - RV

Fr. Prem Kumar (2nd from L) enjoying company of fellow Jesuits in New Delhi, India, following his release by abductors in Afghanistan. - RV

05/03/2015 06:00

Jesuit priest Fr Alexis Prem Kumar from southern ‎India’s Tamil Nadu state, was visiting a school for ‎returnee refugees run by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in a settlement some 35km from Herat,  in ‎western Afghanistan.   The 47-year old Jesuit was about to return to Herat when he was abducted at ‎gunpoint into a vehicle by a group of armed men on June 2, 2014, and was sped off.  After over 8 months of ‎captivity, the priest was released on Feb. 22.  Though he lost 12 kilos, he says he is keeping fine.  The ‎JRS is immensely grateful to the Indian government for its role in achieving Fr. Prem Kumar’s release.  ‎Indian Prime Minister ‎Narendra Modi said he was "delighted at securing" the priest's release.

JRS has been working in Afghanistan since 2005. Even during the difficult months of Fr Prem's ‎captivity, JRS continued to run its programmes in the country in order to ensure that Afghan students ‎had continued access to quality education.  Before moving to Afghanistan in 2011, Fr. Prem Kumar ‎had worked for JRS, serving Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu. At the time of his kidnapping, ‎he was the JRS Afghanistan Director.  To know more about him, Vatican Radio contacted Fr. Prem ‎Kumar on the phone in his home town in Tamil Nadu.  The Jesuit priest first described the way he was ‎kidnapped on June 2, last year.

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(Robin Gomes)
05/03/2015 06:00